The amount of data we are presented with on a daily basis can be overwhelming. We are inundated with endless streams of data, much of which is frankly of little use and tends to obstruct our need for clarity and fair analysis. As a starting point to cut through the clutter, I’ve listed 3 key areas that marketing and sales professionals can utilize as a way to land in the eye of the storm of big data with respect to effective B2B sales prospecting.
What does the target universe of your inside sales representative(s) look like?
Having a report or dashboard that provides a real time look into their active universe of contacts and accounts is crucial, whether it’s broken down by territory or sales rep. Not only do you want a bird’s eye view for the contact data that’s available to them but you also need to have an idea of how that universe is broken down based upon critical categories. For example, if each sales rep has a 1,000 accounts how many of those have been exhausted, meaning there’s no potential for opportunity there? Or how many have active opportunities in the works, or how many expressed interest until next or how many expressed interest in the short term? The president of my company, Pete Gracey, recently wrote a blog that shows why this is so necessary.
Do you know who is not interested and why?
Inside sales reps tend to face a fair amount of rejection, so they learn to tough it out from time to time, but do they actually try to make sense of and learn from past rejections? Many organizations start high with C-level contacts, because ideally they want to get in front of the person who will sign the check. However if you have a report that demonstrates that C-levels are not responding at all, wouldn’t you try and engage VP, Director, or Manager levels as well? Reporting on negative responses may reveal that C-Level execs might be saying “no thanks” because do not even know if the pain point your solution addresses exists in their organization. VPs, Directors and Managers might have the knowledge of those pain points and could be more inclined to listen as this could fall within their area of responsibility and could run your solution up the chain of command with a rational for why it is required. Once you are in front of the appropriate contact another aspect that is key to understand is their reasons for lack of interest – is it budget, timing, is it not a fit for the environment? This information will be very important to report on so that you know how and when to guide your inside sales team to reengage, or rule out that company completely.
Do you have insight into the results of all those scheduled calls?
Your inside sales team sets up a consistent flow of scheduled calls for your sales folks, do you know the results of these calls? Closing the loop on lead feedback and understanding what the next steps can be a real challenge for organizations. At any given moment you should be able to open a report and see all the scheduled appointments from your team and be able to drill down to see what the result was. Knowing whether the call occurred, the details of the conversation and specifics on what the next steps are (on-site, demo, presentation, etc), should all be included in this report. Too often notes are not documented, outbound and inbound activities are not logged within the CRM which not only makes calculating conversion rates difficult, but more importantly understanding which opportunities are progressing, which are not and the reasons behind it.
Of course there are many reports you can create when it comes to sales insight and analysis, but these were 3 that I thought got overlooked from time to time. Please feel free to share your thoughts and advice on some of your own sales reporting practices that you find useful.
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